Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic condition that affects the spine. It can also cause pain and stiffness in the hips and neck, thus affecting one’s posture and mobility. Medical practitioners have been studying how to alleviate these discomforts through natural remedies. Here are some of the most effective ones.
Physicians who have been studying how physical activity helps manage AS pain say that exercise is the universal treatment for the condition. Stretching every morning helps reduce pain and stiffness, especially in the joints and spine. Shoulder rolls and chin tucks help improve posture, as having ankylosing spondylitis tends to make you lean forward.
Exercising with weights builds muscles which, in turn, support the joints affected by AS. Walking and moving around make your joints support your weight. Weight-bearing exercises “feed” the cartilage in the joints and spine.
Gentler exercises like yoga, Pilates, and swimming are also beneficial because they help you develop flexibility and are easy on the joints. And on days you can’t go to the gym or the pool, you can opt for a long walk with your dog.
By inserting hair-thin needles into specific points in the skin, acupuncture treatment creates deep relaxation in both mind and body, specialists at Awakenings Acupuncture say. Acupuncture is an ancient Oriental way of healing and is believed to trigger the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Studies show that patients with AS who underwent acupuncture treatments for a few months had significant reductions in pain levels. The treatment also affected the patients’ daily activities, with improvements in pain management throughout their day.
There are plenty of effective therapeutic ways to relieve immobility and discomfort caused by AS.
Massage Therapy – Generally, people get massages for relaxation. For people with AS, though, getting a massage is more than just an indulgence; it relieves their immobility and stiffness which can be extremely uncomfortable. A massage can also calm the mind and soothe the body.
Electrotherapy – Using electrical currents to stimulate nerves can help with pain control. Studies have shown that Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) helps soothe chronic pain as it overrides pain signals. This technique is usually performed by physical therapists but can also be done at home.
Hot or Cold Therapy – Applying hot or cold packs before or after exercise will reduce swelling and joint pain. These are simple yet very effective ways of treating discomfort, especially at home. Flare-ups or sudden pain may occur, and having access to frozen vegetables in your refrigerator or a hot pack in your cupboard will get you the immediate relief you need.
Different people may require different approaches. It’s best to consult your therapist or doctor to know what’s best for your condition.
Bonus Tip: Improve Your Sleeping Habits
Patients with AS have trouble sleeping due to the pain that can come with lying flat on a mattress. The discomfort and stiffness can be so intense that some people don’t get any sleep at all.
A mattress that supports and contours to your back while you sleep is a good investment because it will help alleviate the pain in the long run. Having enough pillows and keeping your neck aligned will help you get a good night’s sleep, too.
Medical treatments are still very important in dealing with ankylosing spondylitis, but these natural remedies are proven to help manage and reduce pain and immobility.